Archives department rethinking on cancelled artifact restoration project

Archives department rethinking on cancelled artifact restoration project
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Former director had cancelled project awarded to Delhi-based-NGO for its poor credentials

Srinagar: The Archives, Archeology and Museum (AA&M) department is rethinking its cancellation of a tender for restoration and conservation of flood hit artifacts at SPS Museum to a New Delhi based NGO. The Rs 1.36 cores project, for which the tenders were floated August 2017, were allocated to New Delhi-based Sagar NGO. However, after a Jaipur based firm raised questions over Sagar NGO’s credentials, the former director of the department cancelled the allocation.
The then director, Mohammad Shafi Zahid, had asked Sagar NGO to produce original documents of its work profile.
Unsatisfied with the credentials, Zahid, in an order dated March 31, 2018, directed that “In view of the controversies and little experience”, Sagar NGO’s selection for the project “be considered for cancellation and further action accordingly”.
The order reads that Sagar NGO “has not done any work in natural history”, a necessary requirement for the conservation project, and hence “cannot do justice with the conservation of different artifacts housed in the museum”. Zahid retired on the same day from the department, a fact that the present director says, goes against the order. “We are not able to understand on what basis he gave the tender to the said NGO. Did he not check the credentials of the firm before awarding to it the conservation project,” Director, Archives, Muneer-ul-Islam told Kashmir Reader. “Whichever firm they select, its work experience in the relevant field should be checked beforehand, because it is the question of conservation of hundreds of important artifacts at the (SPS) museum. The selected firm should have a degree in the conservation field,” he said.
Muneer said that the department has now set up a committee to take a decision on the issue. However, the department seems to be hovering towards reissuing the contract to the firm, on the basis of technicalities.
Any delay in retendering the project, Muneer said, would put the artifacts at the museum damaged more than three years ago at risk. The artifacts have been damaged in 2014 floods and lying in the same state since.
“They would get damaged further with the passage of time unless protected. Now it’s upon the decision of committee members what they want to do,” he said.